LGBTQ+ Folklorico group redefines the boundaries of traditional Mexican folk dance
CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) Ensamble Folclórico Colibrí is a Mexican folklore dance group with the mission of promoting pride for those that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community in the art of dance.
Through every twist and turn of their rainbow-colored faldas, the harmonious strumming of the guitar, and the rhythmic tapping of shoes... the Ensamble Folclórico Colibrí is providing a space for this in the LGBTQ+ community. Juan Serrano joined the group in 2019 and says it allows him to express himself freely.
"Before joining the group, I stopped smiling, I practically stopped smiling. Now when I put on my boots, pants, jacket, and sombrero, I feel excited," said Serrano.
Since the age of 10, the co-founder of the dance group, Arturo Magaña has been in the arts in Mexico but it wasn't until he immigrated to the U.S. that he lost a sense of belonging. He was in various groups before but never felt truly represented in his work.
"And though I was representing Mexico and I was representing my heritage and my culture. I still felt that I was not representing my identity,” said Magaña.
It was then that he decided to start his own group in 2015, one of the first LGBTQ+ Folklorico groups in the world, redefining the traditional boundaries in the centuries-old practice.
"We're not here to change history. We're here to add our stories," said Magaña.
Typically, the art of Mexican folk dance depicts traditional representations of gender and sexuality, but Colibrí gives their own spin with the men sometimes donning skirts or the women acting as the "boot" or the role given to men.
"The more we embrace each other and the more we accept that it's not so much about your label, but about being one. Kind of human being, the easier it will be for everyone to just be happy with each other," said Magaña.
Magaña says that more and more groups like Colibrí are popping up and hopes that Colibrí is no longer an outlier.